The Influence of Fear and Chaos on Innate Evil

Essay by aznrose531High School, 10th gradeA+, April 2004

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The origin of an individual's sense of cruelty is a topic that is highly debatable. Though some feel that it is learned during one's childhood, others disagree and instead believe that everyone is born possessing this negative attribute, though it does not reveal itself unless the subject is in an extreme situation that promotes this attribute. William Golding, a British author recognized by his world-renowned novel, Lord of the Flies, thought that evil was brought about by a combination of the two ideas. In this magnificent piece of literary work, he uses Jack, who begins as an arrogant yet somewhat ethical leader of a group of choir boys, to demonstrate the gradual and dramatic transformation in morals that occurs when a group of young boys are stranded on an uncharted island from a plane wreck. By including Jack as one of the most dynamic characters in this book, Golding displays the effect caused by innate evil exposing itself as a result of the fear and chaos being faced.

In the beginning when the boys are taken fresh out of their moral society and put onto an island with no definite rules, despite the frenzied circumstances, they continue to grasp onto their beliefs with only a slight hint of the presence of destructive change. During the very first attempt to hunt for food, Jack's reason for failure is obvious to Ralph and Simon, who accompanies him into the forest. Golding explains, "They knew very well why he hadn't: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood" (31). The power and ability to cause death, which is possessed by the knife, is far too much for Jack to handle. His mind is still conditioned by the society that remains back home,